Pau Gasol’s speech to Lakers reinforces Darvin Ham’s credibility

Darvin Ham gave the floor to Pau Gasol to speak to his team on Tuesday in hopes the former Lakers great and NBA champion would instill the same values ​​about winning Ham has been trying to instill since he became coach of the team has become.

It was a chance to rebuild credibility – the challenge that every coach takes on with his team. It was a calculated chance to use the team’s past successes to shape the team’s present and future.

“When you have people who have achieved what he has achieved in his individual career, some of the great teams that he’s been on, whether it’s the Lakers or the Spain national team, through to the great Spurs teams, with that he comes in and the words he shared are the words they hear us say every day,” Ham said. “Being competitive, taking on adversity, being together, communicating – like all those words we use with our boys every day. And some of them are themes about who we want to be and what we want to become again.

“So it just reassures these guys that we’re not crazy.”

Coupled with Ham’s decision to field Russell Westbrook as the Lakers’ sixth man, his internal credibility should be pretty high despite the team’s 1-5 record.

He preaches effort and defensive execution, and so far the Lakers are second on this side of the ball, allowing 104.7 points per 100 possessions. The only other team in the defensive top 10 with a losing record is the Clippers.

While they’re by no means an offensive juggernaut, improvements in the last two games, coupled with an easier schedule, give grounds for cautious optimism – starting with Westbrook’s acceptance of his new role.

“Just being in position, the right position,” he said of what caught his eye. “If I’m in the right position to help my teammates and make them better, I think it’s beneficial for everyone. And my job is to find ways to keep making the team better, whatever it is [that’s] needed that night, whether it’s assists, goals, rebounds or defense. I’m a person who prides myself on doing everything every night. And I want to have that trickle down effect on the guys that I’m on the floor with.”

Ham said the team’s defense being ahead of its offense was not only expected but likely guaranteed given his plan and timeline.

“The biggest thing I wanted to attack first was defense because that’s the best way to show your competitive nature is to go out there and get stops and make it difficult for teams to run their offense and score goals and so on,” Ham said. “I thought our schedule was really tough. … It was something. But I was very happy with how we defended those teams. They’re really top-class attacking teams and we defended them really, really well.

“…I didn’t like being 0-5, but I got it… Our offense is going to catch up with our defense. Russ gave us a huge boost, a huge boost off the bench. What I expected, it would be what it was. So I think we’re exactly where we need to be.”

If Gasol said the same thing to the Lakers, all the better.

Injury updates

Ham said Anthony Davis is feeling some repercussions from playing for a backache late on Sunday. He will be questionable against New Orleans on Wednesday.

“He’s fine. He’s feeling it a little bit,” Ham said. “We’re taking care of his back. He’s listed as a doubt for tomorrow. But I saw him come in today, got his treatment, got his job, do his exercises , just relax. And he’ll be warmed up and ready to start the shoot-around tomorrow.”

Dennis Schroder, who has not played this season after having thumb surgery last season, did some individual work on the pitch with a thumb brace. He is due to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.


When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday

In the air: Television: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330

To update: The Lakers could play more freely now that the team’s five-game winning streak has been halted. Forwards LeBron James and Juan Toscano-Anderson are likely, but Anthony Davis is a question with his ongoing back problems. The New Orleans Pelicans stand in the way of the team’s first winning streak. Zion Williamson is back on the court for the Pelicans, who are still without former Laker Brandon Ingram due to a concussion. Pau Gasol’s speech to Lakers reinforces Darvin Ham’s credibility

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